Team Building Events – The 5 Basic Points Everyone Needs to Know.

1. Team Building Explained

For years now, people’s perception of team building has been synonymous with images of people building rafts, taking part in ‘awkward’ trust exercises, or being stranded whilst orienteering in the middle of nowhere.

It may come as a surprise to a lot of people to learn that things have actually evolved.

A survey by Vodafone UK and YouGov has concluded the UK staff have become turned off by team building as they often breed ‘awkwardness’. According to the survey, experiences like being blindfolded and led by colleagues are considered the least effective team-building activities.

Findings showed the most effective events are social events like going out for a drink or a meal; Team building events that are interactive, fun, fast-paced and down-right entertaining event are the sort you will want to share with colleagues.

2. Conferences – The Good/The Bad

Whilst conferences are the single most common way to converge an entire company in one location for a collaborative session of discussion and networking, quite often you are asked to provide Conference Energiser activities to whip-up the room and revitalise delegates throughout the away-day after prolonged periods of intense presentations and slide shows.

A poorly delivered Staff Conference can have a negative impact on the morale of your employees.

Without the addition of carefully choreographed team building activities, energisers or keynote speaker, you can be faced with delegates criticising the day for being “death-by-PowerPoint”, “chalk-and-talk” or another favourite is “analysis-paralysis”.

3. Think about Going Abroad

Organising team building events that are to be delivered overseas and internationally can be a daunting event to manage as there are so many variables and added logistics to cope with; hundreds of flights, hundreds of requirements, hundreds of hotel rooms – all in a venue that aren’t exactly fluent in english – needless to say things can be lost in translation!

That being said the output of such an event is very useful to a team and something where people are away from their comfort zone and having to work together will definitely mould a team quicker and stronger than anything local.

4. What team building events will your team most enjoy?

Often clients want to drill down to finite details about the specific activities that make up team building workshops including a minute-by-minute agenda. Not only is that not applicable for this type of training since it’s often a fluid and dynamic process, but it is really focusing on the texture of the bark on the trees rather than stepping back for a view of the forest.

What is important is having a clear goal for this portion of your meeting. One mistake companies make is having a “We do a team building activity at this meeting every year” attitude with no real thought about what they want to get out of it. How do you choose the right team building activity? It’s best to take the Stephen Covey approach and begin with the end in mind.

Before you start filling out internet forms and making phone calls to team building companies, think about the goals for this session. If you are the information gatherer, press the decision makers for additional information beyond the tired and overused “team building” and “communication” for something more concrete like breaking down silos or building creative problem solving skills. On the surface you might be looking for something fun and interactive, but there’s a good chance that if the company is spending thousands of dollars on this event, someone is looking for tangible outcomes.

Team building activities are exercises that can help teams build cohesion and work through a host of common group issues. They are used as educational tools to provide opportunities to at least begin discussions that can be continued back at the workplace.

How do you choose the right team building activity for your meeting? It’s like the ingredients of a delicious recipe. Instead of focusing on the bok choy, which isn’t particularly interesting in itself but put in context of other ingredients becomes a flavourful dish, begin with the end in mind. If you take a step back and focus on the goals and outcomes from your meeting you will make the right decision for a team building activity.

5. When to do team building? Take a look at January!

Research has shown that one of the best ways to avoid that after Christmas lull into depression is by doing things that actually give you a cause to look forward to something. So why not invigorate your team and give them something to get excited about with a January kick-off teambuilding events. A fun corporate event means that whilst Christmas is over, the gifts just keep on giving. Activities testing physical, mental, skill and creative capabilities revive the thrill of Christmas and good old family fun, and your team will be left feeling energised and ready to take on the working world once more. Or why not revitalise your team and get their engines going with a straight-talking super-car racetrack experience or Golf Day?

There are a range of no-nonsense successful packages catering to any budget and that really aim to target the core skills for devising your perfect team, teambuilding events are guaranteed to put a much needed smile on your employees face… and yours too!

New Year’s resolutions – we’ve all made them. Whether it’s deciding to join the gym and actually use it this year, de-clutter the house or stick to your diet for longer than just New Year’s Day this time around, January 1st is a day designed for CHANGE.

But for all our good intentions and spirit, studies have shown that by January 10th most of us will have already given up our resolutions, a mere nine days after they were made, with three-quarters of 3,000 British admitting they were no longer confident they would stick to their promises for the rest of the month.If you’re failing to see these changes through at home though, don’t let this be the case at work. Take the opportunity to really target the issues you may have with your team and challenge them to raise their game. Now we’re not talking a full-blown bloody boxing match to get the competitive side out of your team or making 2013 changes… instead instil a sense of healthy competition and determination in your employees with a team building corporate event high on energy, high on fun.

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How IT Managers Can Do A Better Job Of Team Building

The job of every IT manager is to find ways to use your IT manager skills to get the most productive work out of your team. However, your team is made up of a group of very diverse individuals – they really don’t have a lot to do with each other. What this means is that being an IT manager is much more than just telling people what to do, it’s convincing them to work together to accomplish a goal. I don’t believe that there is any IT manager training that can teach us how to do this. Before you can make this happen, you’re going to have to build a team…

What’s Wrong With Today’s Team Building

Team building is not something new. However, the ways that it is done today more often than not does not achieve its goals. The reasons for this are many; however, interviews with people who have attended building exercises have revealed some common factors. In a number of cases the building exercises had nothing to do with the company’s culture. In other cases the exercise placed staff in situations that they found either embarrassing or uncomfortable.

What a lot of our current building exercises are missing is an understanding of just exactly what we are trying to accomplish. The purpose behind making an investment in a building exercise is that you want to boost both communication within your team and camaraderie within your team.

Any building exercise is only going to last for a brief period of time. When it’s over the staff who participated in it will be going back to their offices. These offices may be located anywhere on the globe or everyone may already be part of the same office. As an IT manager, you are going to want to see improvement in how everyone works together once they’ve participated in the team building exercise.

How To Go About Building Teams The Right Way

So if we can all agree that it is easy to go about trying to do team building the wrong way, then what becomes most important is finding ways to go about doing this type of activity the right way. A lot of this starts with having you understand that within your team, there will always be people who don’t want to participate. Whatever exercise you do, you’ll need to make sure that it appeals to them and draws them in.

The team building exercises that your team is involved in need to reflect your company’s culture. You need to keep in mind that a team building exercise may be one of the few times that the various team members have to work side-by-side with each other. This means that you need to use this opportunity to have the exercise to allow them to discover things about each other such as how they prefer to make decisions. The thinking is that after the team building exercise is over, this information will allow everyone to work together more closely.

When you understand that in order for your team to work together smoothly, they need to understand how each other thinks and feels. The purpose of any team building exercise has to be to place the members of your team into a situation where they can’t succeed by themselves. Instead, they need to rely on others to achieve a goal. This may be a new situation for many of them, but developing this kind of skill is critical to showing your team how they can be successful by working together.

What All Of This Means For You

As an individual IT manager there is only so much that you can get done in a given day. If you are able to get the people who work for you to cooperate and work as a team, then you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more. It’s creating this team that can be the real challenge…

A lot of what passes as IT team building today does not accomplish what it is intended to do: build a team. There are a lot of different reasons for this but the most common ones are that the team building that was done had nothing to do with what the company does or that it made the people participating feel embarrassed. IT managers are finding new ways to engage their team members in team building activities. These new methods tap into pop culture and are more likely to draw all members of the time into the exercise.

As an IT manager you are not going to be effective if you don’t have a team to manage. Trying to manage a collection of individuals will be too hard and will consume too much of your time. Instead, you need to take the time to find the right team building exercises that will cause your collection of individuals to fuse into a smoothly working team. Yes, this will take time to do correctly; however, it can be done and the results are well worth it!

Dr. Jim Anderson

“America’s #1 Unforgettable Business Communication Skills Coach”

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